The 6 things I lived in all summer.

I can't believe it's September - I literally don't know where August went. Yet, here we are, on the Labour Day long weekend, getting ready for perhaps a new school year, the return of sweaters and, for most, trying to cram in all of those things you didn't get to the past two months. I justified the $80 pineapple pool floatie in the spring - I'm going to get all the use out of it the last 3 days of summer... just me? 

Regardless of my bucket list coming and going I do have a few things to show for my summer: took in a few ball games, a trip to the lake, visit with the family, coordinated the most fun wedding, am slightly more golden hue than my pasty winter look - I'll chalk it up as a win. What I did notice scrolling through my phone photos is that there is a definite trend in my attire. My wardrobe was basically on repeat with a small number of pieces that I could tolerate from my closet, and I'm not mad about it. 

It may be my age or my appreciation for beautiful things, but I find myself donating clothes every few weeks; I just can't be bothered to keep something around for the maybe one off time that I'll need a neon leopard print dress. Don't get me wrong, I love love clothes. I'm crap at doing make up: I'll never master the winged eye liner and I'm not great with hair. But I literally plan my walk to work to go by store fronts to see what latest trends are in the window. I love the confidence clothes can give you and how your style and mood are always reflected in what you wear. I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect red dress, maybe because I just watched Pretty Woman or maybe I just want to be Jessica Rabbit. Either way - the hunt continues.

I predict my summer wardrobe will merge into my fall wardrobe - the thing about the classics is they'll always be transferable and in style, or will come back in fashion. My cliche obsession of the summer was definitely the scrunchie, and I'm not giving it up. 

The summer round up ...

  • These Aritzia pants are life, I wear them to any and every occassion. Work, dates, the bar and weddings - so versatile! Worth the investment. 
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  • The ruffled sandal - the $25 impulse purchase has been my go to for the summer. It was basically a mule that could show off my pedicure and work appropriate flip flops. 
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  • Lace ups! My closet is now home to all things lace ups, an easy interest piece that can update any jeans look. I picked up this shirt in Amsterdam but the brand can be found at several boutique shops in Vancouver or online here.
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  • Athleisure: when gym where meets the pencil skirt.
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  • Tassels! Update the t-shirt look with a tassel earring or necklace - I found these ones at J.Crew here.
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  • Bandanas: work as a head scarf or around the neck, it was a perfect way to deal with a hot summer day and keep your hair out of your face. 
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What did YOU wear all summer?? Will you keep up the trends when the leaves start to fall? 

Happy September!

xx

LC

Baseball, Breweries, and Bubbles

Well! It has been a busy week for this girl, but a great one. I celebrated my day of birth and for all you Virgos out there you can attest to the fact that we are very stubborn people and I personally would rather fuss over others than others fuss over me. This week turned out to be a series of wonderful events that allowed me to spend my time with some of my favourite people. Overall, it made for a very memorable and enjoyable birthday week - a week that may take me another week to recover from.

My friends and I have been going down to the watch the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners play for 5 years now. This year the series landed on my birthday, so to keep up with the tradition 10 of us headed down to Seattle (along with the rest of Vancouver and any Blue Jay fan in the tri-state area), to cheer on what would hopefully be the turning point of the recent subpar Blue Jays' performance (and, of course, to heckle some Mariners along the way.) The Jays put on an epic performance and had all of Safeco field erupting in excitement with their 10-2 win. I love Safeco field: the roof was open, the structure is simple and airy, and I also think there isn't a bad seat in the place. Another selling feature of the stadium is the garlic fries - who doesn't love to eat chunks of garlic?? Well, some people I'm sure have a garlic aversion, so I'd recommend it to be an all or nothing decision in the group because the smell is STRONG. With the buzzing energy of the game, the after party led us to the infamous Cowgirls. Think Coyote Ugly meets Urban Cowboy: girls in leather chaps and a mechanical bull. The Blue Jays even made an appearance, they must have heard it was my birthday...

This weekend I was also gifted a Brewery Tour from my sister! A first for me and definitely on my Vancouver to-do list. I'd highly recommend Vancouver Brewery Tours - our guide Rachel was awesome and very knowledgable! Vancouver is now home to 50+ breweries and that number is only growing. We visited 3 breweries: Brassneck, Strange Fellow and Storm. My preference of beer is not as extensive as my preference of coffee by any means, so I was excited to learn more about the art of craft beer. My lovely mother (an avid wine drinker) joined me so it was a fun new experience for the both of us. I've summarized each brewery along with my favourite brew and some facts I learned along the way: 

  • Brassneck:
    • What I learned: 
      • The 4 ingredients to Beer: Yeast, Hops, Water and Barley.
      • There are actually only TWO types of beer: Ale and Lager.
    • What I drank: No Brainer, Hibiscus Wit, Old Money Mild, Passive Aggressive.
    • Favourite: No Brainer! 

 

  • Strange Fellows:
    • What I learned:
      • A brewery known for it's sour beer selection and aged beers - that's right: like wine, beer can be aged for years! On average, most beers age 6-8 weeks but some can be up to 15 years.
      • Oak Barreling: Offers a different depth of flavours and aromas that are absorbed by the beer over time.
    • What I drank: Sour, Saison, Dunkel, White IPA.
    • Favourite: Saison or the Sour - it almost tasted like a cider.

 

  • Storm Brewery:
    • What I learned:
      • Vancouver's oldest brewery! (In operation for 22 years).
      • When drinking a sour beer you are supposed to take 3 sips to appreciate the taste.
      • The owner does NOT like pumpkin beer but brewed an 'Apple Pie' Lager which was delicious for fall! 
    • What I drank: Vanilla Whiskey Stout and Apple Pie Ale
    • My Favourite: BOTH!! 

My birthday celebrations concluded with a girls' night out for dinner at Hapa Izakaya for some sake and sushi, followed by bubbles and live music at the The Lobby Lounge in the Fairmont Pacific Rim. A great spot for live music and even better people watching. 

So there you have my birthday round up. It was a great week and I'm so lucky to have all the amazing people in my life that I do (insert sappy emoji here). 

xx

LC

 

Weekend on the Sunshine Coast!

I love weekend getaways; a short and sweet escape from your regular routine and usual weekend activities. However, in order to do the art of weekending well you need to make sure you plan ahead to get the most out of your trip! Yes a bit of a tedious task but usually every group may have a planner(or volunteers) to take charge and make sure everyone has the best time. My list below is tips that I find helpful, a little how-to guide if you will... 

  • Location! Location! Location!
    • This weekend my friends and I went to Half Moon Bay, BC on the Sunshine Coast, not to be confused with Half Moon Bay in California - that location looked great too, but unfortunately was not in the sailing schedule for BC ferries... It was everyone's first time to the Sunshine Coast and it did not disappoint! Even better, from door to door the travel time was just less than 3 hours - that included a ferry ride!
    • **FIRST TIP: For weekend getaways, don't spend your whole time travelling, you'll barely feel relaxed before you have to back up and go again! I'd say destinations in the 3-5 hour range are best for Friday-Sunday trips.
Smuggler's Cove

Smuggler's Cove

  • Accommodation
    • **SECOND TIP: Whether you're a group of six or a twosome, think about what you're looking for out of the weekend to plan for the best accommodations. Trips to the spa might mean you're best suited for a resort or hotel, in our case we were looking to relax by the fire pit and make some delicious food (Seafood Boil!! More on that later!). An Air BnB was the best value and suited our agenda, be sure to note the number of people in the house allowed and any additional costs! We rented a house that had enough space for everyone to have a room, a huge kitchen, a fire pit and the seclusion from city life we were looking for. 
  • FOOD!
    • Again, location becomes a factor when planning the food situation, for our destination to the island we decided it was the perfect setting to try our first Seafood boil. We hit the local fish market and picked up fresh crab, mussels, prawns and clams - paired with some lemon, a plethora of salt and we were in business. Oh, and butter, can't forget that! We served it up by dumping the pot of seafood deliciousness right on the table - such a fun way to feast. And an easy clean up!
    • **THIRD TIP: The rest of the weekend was mostly groceries we brought over, I'm a big fan of this approach as I think that on short vacations grocery trips should be limited so you can just enjoy (also saves you some dollars in the end usually)! We had lots of family styles meals and grazing. For your next trip look at what the local specialties are and try something new! 
Being locals! 

Being locals! 

Island afternoons.

Island afternoons.

Breakfast, is the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast, is the most important meal of the day.

The end result of the Seafood boil! 

The end result of the Seafood boil! 

  • Activities
    • **FOURTH TIP: I find activities are always best to not necessarily be set in stone, you don't want weekends to feel over planned... that would defeat the purpose of a weekend away! Unless that's your goal and you want to fit in all the things - go for it! We realized that one of BC's greatest natural spectacles was right in our back yard, the Skookumchuck Narrows were about 45 minutes away from our place and the 4km hike led us to where twice a day there is a change in tide reversing the direction of the rapids! How exciting! Sadly, we were a few hours late to witness this phenomenon but it was still a gorgeous hike... we'll be back for you Skookumchuck. Next we stumbled upon Smuggler Cove after missing our turn off, it was literally just us on the rocky beach and a few jelly fish, so serene! Lastly, we were introduced to the long running tradition of the 'Sleepy Hollow Rod Run' where literally the entire town sets up on the side of the highway (think living rooms set up on the side of the road), needless to say there were some pretty impressive cars to admire. So basically is what I'm saying is that sometimes, even planners, need to fly by the seat of their pants and see where the day takes them! Enjoy, talk to locals, get suggestions and explore. 
Skookumchuck Rapids, a few hours to late... 

Skookumchuck Rapids, a few hours to late... 

Brown Lake enroute to the Skookumchuck! 

Brown Lake enroute to the Skookumchuck! 

So that sums up our little summer weekend getaway! I love going new places and a change of scenary, we booked this trip only on a few weeks notice so don't be deterred that we're already in August (when did that happen by the way?!), lots of summer left to enjoy. 

The last tip I'll pass along is that while outside stargazing and having sing alongs around the fire, be mindful that voices DO carry and islanders will call in a noise complaint. We had a visit from the local authorities but he appreciated that us city folk forget the stillness of the island means voices carry... or it could have been the Nate Dogg song choice on the speaker, we'll never know! 

Happy Weekending!! 

xx

LC

A Weekend in Wine Country

With every big life change I always have the inkling to get out of town; an adventure before a new chapter begins, if you will. I started a new job this past Monday and I knew my vacation needed to be doable in two days: not too much travel time and ideally somewhere to soak up some sun. The end result ended up being right in my "backyard" of BC - Kelowna! The last time I was there was as a kid driving from Edmonton, so I was so excited to return and, this time, to enjoy the grapes (and by grapes I mean all of the wines the valley had to offer!) 

I went with a friend I've known since my high school days in Edmonton - and our vacation chemistry was spot on. It's so important to find the people you can travel with, because said people can make or break a vacation.

We stayed at the Okanagan Lakeview Bed & Breakfast; it was our first B&B experience and we were beyond impressed. Michelle and Ralf had a gorgeous lodge-like-home overlooking the lake. The house boasted high ceilings, exposed log beam; everything cabin-y you want in a B&B by the lake. The room was more like a hotel with all the amenities you could want, plus it displayed a view of the lake and our own private terrace! A big bonus was the delicious breakfast served to us the next morning; I think B&Bs are the way to go! I highly recommend this B&B if you find yourself in Kelowna.

We booked the "Afternooner" wine tour with Discover Okanagan Tours, and it was nothing short of fantastic - they even made an exception to pick us up from the B&B! Rocco, our awesome driver, had the pleasure of driving around 6 ladies for the afternoon, but the pleasure was all ours. From learning our names to http://quailsgate.com/ special requests and capturing photo ops, this man had it covered. And he knew his wine too! We went to 6 wineries and came back with more than 6 bottles... always just a wine enjoyer, I did learn a thing or two as well! Obviously less information was absorbed the more the wine flowed. Check out our wine facts and highlights we learned from the wineries we visited!

Summerhill Winery

  • Known for its Pyramid (aka "fire in the middle") and their sparkling wine! The unique component of this pyramid versus other wineries is that it follows the french tradition of putting sparkling wines in dark, cool places for 30 days so the "cuvee & dosage marry".
  • I took home a Riesling, which I thought would be great to have on hand for summer! Not the biggest white wine drinker but the Reisling was the perfect blend of dry and sweet and went down too easily... will be adding this to the rotation for girls night on the patio! 
  • Marechal Foch: I am not a fan of this berry: it's a hybrid french wine grape. I enjoy sitting by a campfire but don't enjoy drinking them. But, as we learned, every palate is different. Could this be the cilantro of wine?!
  • What we bought: Brut and Riesling

Rollingdale WInery:

  • Cherry Port: I usually only endure a port with my grandparents after a meal, but this cherry port was so nice! The cherries naturally make it sweeter and had a very nice finish! Who knew??
  • Did you know the grapes aren't picked until Halloween? The wineries have been happy with the hotter weather this year: longer growing season = more sugars = sweeter wine and higher alcohol = winning!
  • This winery is Organic Certified which means no sulphites are added to the barrels. So it's basically just fruit, which is good for you, so drink up.
  • There were two SUPER sweet wines that were able to win over the NON drinker in our group! Impressive.
  • What we bought: Tumbleweed

Little Straw Winery:

  • Cuvee: a type of wine that is dependent on the season, the weather, the blend and cannot be replicated! If you find one you like, best to stock up or you'll miss out.
  • When trying so many wines the tastes started to blend together, so we were told to always take a second sip as the first one is not an accurate representaiton of the wine. Good to know.
  • Chef Trevor is the talented in house chef who offered a tapas menu at the winery. These tapas were on a different level! Wine soaked apples with homemade boursin with honey and chives was a stand out winner! All paired well with an incredible rhubarb rosé - YUM!
  • What we bought: Tapestry

Mt. Boucherie

 

  • BC has so many great white wines and bubbles to offer, I wasn't as impressed with the reds until this winery. We found the Syrah that had been opened this year - it was by far the best red of the tour! 
  • This winery gave a great view so we snapped a photo with the bridal party on our tour - a sweet punch of girls that let us join their celebrations! 
  • What we bought: Syrah

Quailsgate:

  • First of all, I'd be completely find with getting married here. It's so beautiful with a terrace overlooking the vineyard and lake! A stunning property.
  • We learned that rosé should be enjoyed the same year it was made! (I may have a few bottles to get rid of...) In fact, the colour of the wine actually turns after the season! So, Rosé Okay within the year.
  • What we bought: Chassele (the trifecta of wines - the varietals). 

 

Beaumont:

  • Alexandre owns the Beaumont winery and he has FUN doing it. We walked into live music and even Rocco our driver was invited to drum along. He serendaded the group with a lovely rendition of 'Can't Help Falling in Love with You' to my friend Sabirah - it was coincidently her wedding song! He sung just to her, but his toothy grin had us all swooning...
  • What we bought: The sparkling "Serenade" 

What's wine without a little cheese? Less enjoyable, obviously! We visited Carmeli's Goat Farm on the way out of town; the goats were so cute and not a fan of the rain! Our favourites we went home with were the chevary cheese (Provence, Lavender and Thyme & the Dill and Onion), gouda and the blue cheese. We paired with chevary cheese with a peach and bourbon compote - to die for! This place also offers a free cheese tasting with purchase, I'm pretty sure we tried 15 cheeses! What a delicious end to the weekend.

I apologize in advance if I've butchered the language or descriptors of wine. It became harder as the tour went on to retain much (for obvious reasons) but I enjoyed the experience so much! Kelowna is a beautiful place to visit with over 200 wineries - a repeat visit is required. I am happy to have broadened by understanding of wine even in the slightest... I'm pretty stocked up for summer too!

I'm always first to think outside the country for vacations but sometimes I need to remind myself how beautiful BC is and all the gems it has to offer.

Here's a little tip from me to you: before heading on the Crow's Nest (by accident...), be sure to fill up your tank of gas. We managed to reach East Gate gas station with 20km to empty to find that NO ONE was there. Needless to say we happily found out that 0km on a Ford Fusion will take you an extra 30 km's ... 

Cheers to weekend adventures and visits to wine country!

xx

LC

How I Updated my Kitchen under $1000

With every change in season I always get the itch to do the typical big clean, purge my closet of all the clothes I've worn to death and take on a new décor project! Bathrooms and kitchens are always big ticket renos so I have to get creative with my updates...

Let's just note my dream kitchen below...

The previous owner of my condo did some updates but left some definite room for improvement. I have white cabinets - which I love - but I also have this sort of terrible green granite counter tops to work with. I knew I couldn't afford to replace the counter tops so I just needed to tone down the colour and shift focus away from it.

FLOORS! The floors were something that definitely could use a facelift and would not break my bank. Originally an awful laminate reminiscent of a school classroom, I worked with Carecraft Contracting and upgraded to a beautiful porcelain floor in black with a bit of gray undertone. I chose larger floor tiles and to lay them vertically to make the surface area look larger. Also, these large tiles compliment my choice of smaller tiles for the backsplash.

Fuzzy photo...worse floor.

Fuzzy photo...worse floor.

So much better!

So much better!

BACKSPLASH! Another easy/inexpensive way to update a kitchen - and subway tile is my favourite. Gloss, matte, glass, colour and you can have fun with the grout as well to make it more noticeable (think white tile with dark grout to make it stand out!). My backsplash surface area is on the smaller side, so I opted for a monochromatic look in white tile and light gray grout. I'm super happy with the result! Like the Big Lebowski woud say, it really pulled the room (kitchen) together!! Handy work by the talented team at Carecraft Contracting again. 

Pre-Subway Tile

Pre-Subway Tile

PASSTHROUGH! One of the reasons I bought my place was because the face of the kitchen was "open" to the living room and dining room. The passthrough offers a small counter space, but it was topped with laminate that had no curb appeal. I worked with a carpenter and picked out a gorgeous piece of wood and stained it to bring out the natural grain. The pass through - although a minor detail - looks fantastic and contrasts the granite, tile and stainless accents in the kitchen. Moreover, it is a nice transition into the dining room. Not too mention its function for serving, housing my cook books and everyday entertaining use.

Before...

Before...

Between the floors, backsplash and passthrough upgrades, I was able to makeover my kitchen while staying on my $1000 budget! The counter tops even seem a little less green now...

The finished project! 

The finished project! 

So don't shy away from kitchen or bathroom upgrades - set out a budget and decide what will offer the most impact while not breaking the bank!!

What is your next weekend project?? 

xx

LC

A Work Week with LC

I love to people watch or people stare as some might accuse. What can I say? I'm a curious one! When I travel I always like to get a sense of the vibe of the city, namely: what is everyone wearing? 

When I was in London I worked in the financial district and, without a doubt, I saw the best dressed men I've ever seen. Like David Beckham good (well, come on, not quite that good.) The tube would be jam packed and 30+ degrees, but the men would be standing there cool as can be in their perfectly pressed Hermes suits, cuff links, pocket square, and even their socks coordinated without breaking a sweat. That was the norm. The women, on the other hand, had a bit more of an eccentric style that often included jelly sandals so, needless to say, there was some disconnect in London's fashion, but overall, a very well dressed city. I've always been impressed with NYC attire as well, partially because you can truly wear anything and no one will be phased (j'adore Carrie). And in a city that WALKS everywhere, woman even Sex and the City it up strutting the streets in 5 inch heels! I mean if you're going to spend the money you might as well wear them!

I think many Vancouverites will agree that our city has a very laid back look for a bustling metropolis. You're not going to find any Harvey Spectors wandering the streets in three piece suits (sadly), nor are the woman in power suits. That doesn't mean there aren't powerhouse business people walking the streets - it just means that the guy in converse and plaid standing beside you at the food truck might be the CEO of the latest start up. So another life lesson I always follow, be KIND to EVERYONE. You never know if they'll end up being your boss.

Even with our relaxed feel, I prefer dressing up for work compared to my day to day wardrobe. It gives me a type of confidence that I wouldn't normally get in jeans and sneakers. I'm short, and I've always had jobs where I work with a lot of men; heels help to make me feel metaphorically and physically on their same level. Besides dressing for the job, I like to add my own style and definitely not stick to the typical boring work attire. Most things are fair game, leopard, lace, suede - in moderation, of course.

Check out my wardrobe from this past week! Spring is settling in so my black tights will go into hibernation again soon.

My final advice on the work day wardrobe is wear what you feel BEST in, you're going to be your best self if you do.

And like my slogan says, you can never be overdressed.

xx

LC

And thanks to my colleague for enduring lunch hour photo shoots!

Jacket: Vera Moda. Skirt and Top: Calvin Klein. Shoes: Aldo. Dog: Milo!

Jacket: Vera Moda. Skirt and Top: Calvin Klein. Shoes: Aldo. Dog: Milo!

Sweater: Banana Republic. Boots: Nine West. Dress: Calvin Klein.

Sweater: Banana Republic. Boots: Nine West. Dress: Calvin Klein.

Trenchcoat: Banana Republic. Top: Joe Fresh. Skirt: Pink Tartan. Shoes: Nine West.

Trenchcoat: Banana Republic. Top: Joe Fresh. Skirt: Pink Tartan. Shoes: Nine West.

Skirt: Banana Republic. Sweater: Winners. Necklace: Banana Republic. Shoes: J. Crew.

Skirt: Banana Republic. Sweater: Winners. Necklace: Banana Republic. Shoes: J. Crew.

Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg. Bag: Cole Haan.  

Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg. Bag: Cole Haan.